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2 posts categorized "..mom in Malaysia"

Mom Story: Yvonne from Beautiful Bag


Hello, my name is Yvonne Kusters, I am married to Steven and together we have a wonderful daughter Faye, 10 years old. Eight years ago we moved from the Netherlands to Kuala Lumpur. We really enjoy living in the tropics. Can you believe it? Every morning the sun is shining, how lovely is that?

Six years ago, together with Brigitte Tops, we started the company Beautiful Bag. Colorful personalized bags, we started a website with 2 designs. Today we offer a variety of 20 different kinds of products. 

Beautiful bag is an exclusive, trendy and international lifestyle product that completely fulfills today’s desire for individual accessories that make a personal statement.  Mischievous eyes, a shining smile; these are the candid moments that make a gorgeous subjects to place on an item from Beautiful Bag.


Besides the personalized collection, we are very interested in B2B. This year we have been selling a collection of bags with colorfull flowers, which are selling in Holland’s famous flower park, De Keukenhof and currently at Schiphol Airport. For the other half of the year we will be selling at…still a little surprise…but very magical…

Since 2010 we introduced a new collection ‘keep the memories alive’. The collection includes: tablecloth, table runners, placemats, wall frames full with photos of Malaysia. Mainly for expats who are leaving, these products are very popular as farewell gifts. Soon we will expand this to other countries.

Besides my work I love to travel which suits my passion for photography. Kuala Lumpur is an excellent base to travel from in Asia. China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, Indonesia and India all great countries to explore.

What kind of house do you live in - are you and the kids happy here, or is there anything you find lacking, or would like to change?

We live in a landed house located on a hilly golf course, 10 km outside Kuala Lumpur. It’s a wonderful green tropical place to raise our daughter. There are cycle paths all over the golf course, a big pool and best of all, many children for her to play with.


What is it you like best about living here?

We really love the outdoor living.  We don’t even have a dining table inside. The last eight years we’ve eating on our table outside, at the terrace. 

Do you like to spend time decorating your home, and your child's room?

Yes, you can say that. I’ve done a lot of styling in my previous job and now and then I love it to turn the house up side down. Always gets inspired when traveling in Asia and visiting local markets, temples etc. but also when reading Bloesem Blog.


Do you keep your child’s play area separate, or do you believe they should have a space in every part of the house?

We love to have Faye around, don’t mind if it gets messy. At the moment she is really into cooking, making a big mess in the kitchen, but always ending up with something new. 

Where do you look for interior inspiration, favorite magazines, websites, or blogs?

Trendtablet, Flavourite, coolhunter, Bloesem blog, Elle fashion, Flow, VT wonen.


What places in your new neighborhood do you like to go shopping at?

I like to go to the night market in Sungai Buloh on a Friday afternoon,  lots of tropical fruit en veggies all very fresh,  colorful and extremely friendly people.

Also SSF is one of my favorite shops, fabrics like organza in many wonderful colors, ribbons with prints, plain in different sizes and lots of nice vague tropical flowers.  

If you are living in a foreign country, how do you find it?  How do you meet new people, make new friends? What is it that you miss most about 'home'?

We have made many friends during the 8 years we are living in Malaysia, lots of them moved forward to other countries after a couple of years.  Some  friends we are still in contact with, they come back to Malaysia for holiday or we meet them during our summer break in Holland. Sometimes we visit them in their new country to see how they live, spent quality time with each other and build new memories together. What I miss about home is family and friends.


How has your child adapted to the language, food, and cultural differences?

Our daughter Faye was 2 years old, when we moved to KL, she is 10 years now. For her Kuala Lumpur is her home town, she speaks fluent English, but find it difficult to keep up with Dutch. She often mixes them up. She loves to eat Roti canai (as all the children do here), but is not the creasy about spicy food. Rice she loves to eat with her hands, hard to get rid of that (Asian influence)

Going to an International school, means contact with children with different cultural backgrounds and celebrating all the local festivals like the Indian Deepavali, Chinese New Year, Malay Hari Raya, for each festivity she dresses up to school in the traditional  costume.

What's it like to raise a child in your town?

KL is a lovely town to raise a child, because of the nice weather, she can always play outdoor on bare feet and never needs to wear a coat. What’s not great is that the school is far away, she needs to go by school bus which means leaving in the morning at 6.40 am.


What is your idea of a perfect day with your child?

The perfect day for us are the Sunday’s,  having lunch together and spending a whole afternoon at the pool and reading a book while Faye is playing with her friends. Coming home cooking a meal together, and watching a movie with the 3 of us. Sunday is family day. 

What is a normal day with your child?  What do you do on the weekends?

Wake up at 6.10 am, breakfast, and off to the school bus. Faye comes home between 3 and 4 pm. I always try to be home when she is comes back, we then drink a cup of tea, eat some fruit and then it’s time for homework. Hmm.. not our favorite subject in the house…when she finishes her homework, she runs outside to her friends to play. Around 6.30 we have dinner and often after dinner she play’s outside as well. On Saturday morning we bring Faye to Rugby, often she has parties in the afternoon. Sunday we take it easy.


Tell us a funny story, quote, or remark one of your child recently made.

The other day she wrote me a letter because I was not feeling well, it started off with ‘because you are the first mum I have’   huh??

Are you a crafter or DIY person?

DIY suits me better. Although I have a wonderful back up, my colleague Brigitte in Holland, who loves to comment on my designs of necklaces and photo-editing. Designs for the beautiful bags we do together. Often I suggest the color combination and she prepares the final design before sending it to the factory.

 Any decoration ideas on how to hang, keep or use them as presents?

As possible scan it, my experience to hang it, is that it gets dirty and at the end you need to throw it away. Our bathroom downstairs if full with drawing from kids, but all laminated. 


How do you like to celebrate birthdays and other special days in your house?

I like it the ‘old fashion Dutch way’. Organizing lots of funny games, or treasure hunts instead of going to the cinema etc.  Kids love it as well as it’s quite unusual for them here in KL. Birthday cake often prepared by myself. 

Does your child have friends over often? If yes, what activities do they do?

Yes, the gate is always open and kids walk in and out. Often she brings friends over on a Friday afternoon who stay for a sleep over. They all love to play outdoors, or are off to the swimming pool within the compound. 

What kind of sports does your child like to do, and are you very involved?

Faye likes to do touch rugby on Saturday mornings together with lots of her friends. Now and then she is participates at tournaments in Singapore. We'll join, and make a nice family weekend out of it. 

As I am not that sporty myself, I am not a mum who loves to shout next to the field on a Saturday morning, rather prefer to drink a nice cup of coffee somewhere (I do feel a little bit guilty though).


Are there musical instruments in your house?

We love to listen to music as Steven my husband is a big collector, it’s all digital. Faye is considering to start with guitar or/and singing lessons. She started with piano when she was 5 years old, but somehow it didn’t work out.  Probably she was too young and not interested in it at the time.  

Does your child read books online?  Do they go to the library?

Faye is doing part of her homework online, although she is not reading books online. At school there is a big library, she brings new books home every week. But with her daily homework, play dates, and activities she does not spend that much time reading. 

What are nice activities you can do with children in your area, and what could you recommend when people are visiting?

Sunway Lagoon, Water Park, jungle tracks, skytrex-adventure.com, science museum, China town, KLCC park, Little India. For the little ones there are many out en indoor play- entertainment. Indian lunch and Seafood restaurants


Are you a ‘cook’ or ‘food lover’ or both?

I love to cook and to try new recipes.  It’s definitely not one of my talents, and often things go wrong, but at the end I always try to make it look nice. That helps a lot. I love to organize dinner parties and bbq's, always making an effort to decorate the table in specific colors, or theme.

Do you cook together with your children? Does Dad cook?

Faye our daughter, and my husband love to cook as well. Regular on Sunday afternoon, we start cooking with the three of us. Preparing fresh pasta, risotto, fish on the BBQ nicely marinated. It all goes together with a good glass of wine, and a lot of chatting what the next week will bring for us.

Where do you like to go to on vacation, with or without your child? 

Kuala Lumpur is just a perfect  base to start your journey in Asia. A missed chance if you don’t take that opportunity. We have been to China, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand and India, and  a lot in Malaysia as well off course. Faye is very used to traveling on a budget (what we prefer) carrying her own backpack, and playing with the local kids.


Do you keep some sort of travel journal with your child?

The first couple of days we try, but it never seems to work out. But she has her own camera which is nice to see at the end, what she has captured.

Every year I design a digital photo book for her, it’s always ‘open’ on my computer. Every week I update it, and add the photos which have been taken that particular week, not only holiday’s, but also daily things like - playing, cooking, reading a book, dress up days at school, watching television, sport events...etc.

How do you prepare for a trip, any useful tips?

Hmm we don’t prepare that much, we are quite laid back…sometimes we do have a rough plan. But we only book the first night, and then start traveling around. We like to be flexible, stay longer if we love the place, or meet nice people to hang around with, and travel further if we want to.


What place does your child love to go?

To be honest after traveling in India, China, Myanmar etc. she often say’s she would like ‘a proper holiday’. That means not traveling around, but stay longer at one place and preferably a 5 star resort! Although she enjoyed all the trips we did with her. This year we decided to combine our home leave to Holland with two weeks Tuscany/Italy with my brother and his family. 

What a colorful Mom Story, thank you Yvonne for sharing it with us!

..Beautiful Bag

..Beautiful Around the World

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Meet Mom Rosalie


Hello! ... My name is Rosalie, 31 years old and i’m originally from Amsterdam. We’ve been living in Kuala Lumpur since a year and we absolutely love it! Before that we lived in Singapore for two years. I’m married to Didi and still very happy! We have one daughter ‘Annissa’ and she turns three end of March. I’m expecting our second child (which is a boy this time). We’re very excited about that!

I don’t work at the moment. Before I got pregnant I started a small catering business, called MamaLovesMango. Once in a while a friend will ask me to make something nice. Right now it’s always in a small scale. Which is perfect for me to manage. Back in Amsterdam i did this too for a year and things were going really well. It’s a job I can combine perfectly with being a mother. A soon as our son is born I’ll probably try to get more catering jobs.

..What kind of house do you live in, are you and the kids happy here or is there anything you all terribly miss …?
We live in a semi detached house. It’s a bit old but we are very happy here. Lots of space for Annissa to run around and play. The first thing we do when we wake up is open all the sliding doors in the house. We don’t really miss something specific.
..Do you like to spend time on decorating your home and the children’s room?

I love to decorate! It’s on my mind most of the time. Soon i have to start with the baby room and it’s something I can look forward to. Our plan is to redecorate Annissa’s room too so hers will transform in a ‘big sister room’.

..Where do you look for interior inspiration, favorite magazines, websites, blogs?
My inspirations comes mainly from what I see in shops. And Bloesem is a perfect blog to get some great ideas!
..How much has your new ‘home’ country influenced your home decoration style?

Ever since we moved to Asia some of our furniture and accessories are from here. It’s mix of different styles. Something we already had back home.

..What places in your new neighborhood do you like to go to for shopping?
Chinatown, Bangsar and  The Gardens Mall are my favorites. These are the places where I know I can find the things I need. And they’re near my house.

General and upbringing:
..What's it like to raise a child in your town?
It’s a great city to raise young children in kuala lumpur.
There are much things for them to do, the weather is nice most of the time so you can always go for a swim. And most of the houses are spacious.

..Who do you consider is a good example for your children?
We try to be a good example for Annissa. But otherwise I would say her teachers in daycare cause she learns a lot of good things from them. Her friends are also a very important factor.

..What is your idea of a perfect day with your children?
That would be a nice long breakfast at home, play some music and take her out for a swim/a walk or a trip to the playground. Annissa’s favorite is the swing!
..Can you tell us a funny story, quote or remark one of your children recently made or happened?
‘Annissa has a baby’ (and points to her tummy)

..What's your favorite local shop to take your children to?
To one of the book stores. We could spend hours there without buying a single book!

..Are their any books you can recommend for parents and how to raise your children?
‘What to expect the first year’ and ‘What to expect the toddler years’ are the two books I’ve used lots of times. It has answered all my questions until now.

..What do you think is very different in raising your children in the country where you live now and where you were raised?
I think the difference is that she can spend much more time with me as I don’t have to work here. Back home I would have had at least a parttime job and spend less time with her. It’s really nice for her to live in a country where the weather is nice 365 days a year. She hardly gets sick or needs to wear four layers of clothing which can be so uncomfortable.

..Will your children be raised bi-lingual, is this difficult for them … can you give some examples?
Yes Annissa is raised bi-lingual. We speak Dutch to her all the time but everywhere else they speak English, at school and her friends.

..Are you happy with the healthcare provided in your new country?
Yes I’m happy with the healthcare system.
The hospitals are really good and have a high standard.
We’re lucky we don’t have to see you doctor or dentist.
But the times we’ve been it was a good experience.
Most of the times even better than back home.


Craft and DIY projects:
..What kind of DIY projects do you like to do with your children?

Play with playdoh, colouring and paint.

..Any tips for keeping the house clean when crafting?
Always use a plastic cover to put over the table before you start!

..Are you a crafter or DIY person?
Yes i am, this year my goal is to follow a sewing course so I can make all kinds of lovely things. I’m already practicing but only can make the most basic stuff .

..Books, websites, local shops you can recommend to get tips and ideas for kids crafting?
the local book stores are always nice to browse en see if you can find nice craft items. Annissa is now at this stage she’s fine with the things that are at home. But I would love to come up with some fresh ideas.

..What do you do with all the projects your children made at home or in school?
I keep them. The other day i thought about buying a nice diary where I can put them in. Maybe a good looking storage box would be good too.

..Any nice decoration ideas how to hang them, keep them or use them as presents?
The new ones I hang up in our kitchen.
So I can enjoy them every day. As soon as it becomes too crowdy I make place for the new ones.

Playing and relaxing:
..How do you like to celebrate birthdays and other special days in your house?
By hanging up some nice decorations, make some homemade cooked/baked meals and playing our favorite music.

..What are favorite games in your home?
Hide and seek, play football/basketball

..What kind of sports do your children like to do and are you very involved?
No sports at the moment, my husband likes to play basketball or football with her but all in a very playful way. When she’s a little bit bigger she might join one.

..Are there musical instruments in your house?
Yes but mostly children's instruments.
Like a keyboard and a harmonica.
We love to listen to music and most of the time Annissa is singing the whole day.


..What are all time favorite books for the children?
Everything from Dr. Seuss is always a winner I guess.
The golden books have such lovely stories and beautiful images.

..What are nice activities you can do with children in your place and what could you recommend when people are visiting?
Our favorites are: butterfly park, FRIM, the zoo, Science Centre, elephant sanctuary (an hour and a half by car)


..What movies do your children like to watch, is there one from your childhood you would love to show them too?
Annissa has her favorites like Madagascar, Bee Movie and Horton Hears the Who.
I don’t have a favorite from my childhood.

..How do they prefer to spend their leisure time?
Annissa can watch one movie and that’s her tv moment. The rest of the day she could spend playing with her toys. Or she is busy colouring, playdoh or making a puzzle. These are the things she would do when we’re home. And there are days we invite her friends over for a play or we are invited at her friends house.

Are you a ‘cook’ or ‘food’ lover or both?
I’m both!

..What do your children like to eat?
Annissa’s favorite would be rice or pasta.
She’s a good eater who tries new things which we are so proud of!

..What is absolutely forbidden candy or drinks in your house?
We recently introduced Annissa to chocolate and certain candy.
The last thing we try to do is cut it out of her diet completely.
She will get introduced to it sooner or later.
But we’re very strict about how much she can have which is a little amount.
We won’t give her any lemonade or soda.


..What kind of books or information do you use for cooking?
Usually I use the same cookbooks or magazines. I hardly go only to find some nice new recipes.

..Can you name some specialties from the country where you live now and you and your family really started to love or still don’t like?
To be honest, we don’t eat a lot of local food. There are a lot of choices if you want to eat out. Malay, Indian or Chinese. Indian would be our favorite I think. From the Malay kitchen it would be satay from a wellknown restaurant in Subang.

..What kind of foods do you miss from your home country?

House pets
..Are their pets in your household?

Yes we have two cats.
Yoshi is 6 six years old and we brought him all the way from Amsterdam.
Alex is our latest member of the family. She’s only 7 weeks old and we found her in our garden. Around six months ago we had another cat (Mitzu) who was Yoshi’s sister.
But unfortunately she ran away and never came back.
So that’s why we kept Alex.

..Do they play an important role in your family?
They are a part of our family.
I’m the one cuddles them the most.
Annissa is very fond of the cats too.
And because of that Annissa is not afraid of other animals.

..What kind of place do you like to go to on vacation with and or without the children?
Ever since we became parents we never went without Annissa.
For us that’s something impossible.
We love to go different places (beach or cities).

..Do you keep some sort of travel journal with the children?
I keep my blog up to date with the things we experience so that would be the place where I would write about the holiday.

..What kind of souvenir can they bring back home?
It depends, could be anything.
As long as it’s not too big.

..How do you prepare for a trip, any useful tips?
Try not to bring too much stuff.
If it’s just for a weekend we’ll use one bag for the three of us.
The less luggage the better.

..What sources do you use when looking for a new vacation destination?
Several websites

..What place do your children love to go to?
Right now Annissa doesn't really mind where we are going.
She’s already excited when she hears we’re going on a plane.


..Tips for traveling with a plane or a long-time trip on the road with children?
We haven't done a long road trip by car yet so I can’t give you any tips.
But for long distance flights I always try to buy some new toys for Annissa.
Some books, colouring books etc. And she’s in this age where she could watch tv for hours and hours in a row. I don’t feel guilty at that moment. I always try to be as relaxed as possible, go with the flow and just watch Annissa what she wants. At the end of the day you have to sit in that plane for so many hours, try make the best out of it.

..Rosalie's catering business..

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